Here are two scenarios for you. Once you are done reading them please take 30 seconds to think about which one would have a greater impact on how likely you are to take the desired action and ultimately how you feel about the organization that created the communication.

Scenario 1

You receive a letter in the mail with the following:

Salutation = Dear Friend

Body copy = Every product/service that the organization offers to every single target market it serves

Signature = Organization name only

Scenario 2

You receive a letter in the mail with the following:

Salutation = Dear (First Name)

Body copy = Product/service that the organization offers that will benefit you the most in the job you do or the segment of the industry in which you serve

Signature = Name of person who you would most likely interact with in the organization based on who you are and what you do

If you are like most people it won’t take you long to determine that the communication sent in Scenario 2 will be much more effective. Why? Personalization and segmentation are what people expect and pretty much require in the world we live in today.

Here are some tips to help you get started down that path:

  1. Develop your buckets or personas – Before you can start communicating in an effective way you need to understand your key audiences and in what ways can you “bucketize” (segment) them. You can make this simple or complex.  Are they a “regular” member or an industry partner? Are they a “regular” member with a particular title that has expressed interest in a certain topic or are they looking for something specific from your organization?
  2. Complete a data review—What do you know about your audience(s)? What data can you easily access and insert into your communications that will make your efforts much more personalized and targeted? It is not possible to create an effective strategy without knowing what information you have AND if you can easily use it.
  3. Create a plan to use what you know—Now that you know what you do and can access important data, the next step is to develop targeted communications that you can use to your advantage. As previously stated, this can be simple or more complex based on your resources (human, financial, technological). On the most extreme side of simple, unless you don’t have the information, all communications sent to an individual should have their contact information in the right fields. Slightly more complex would be adding general details that are unique to the bucket in which they come from.  If you have the resources to go even further you can use deep segmentation and variable data to create a much more personalized communication.

Your audience, and the members of your audience, expect you to know them.  It is almost a requirement that you no longer send generic communications to those with which you want to have positive interactions. The tips above are just a start but when implemented will immediately have a positive impact on your response rates and your engagement levels.

Blog article from Scott Oser. Like what you read? See Scott’s recent webinar on .orgCommunityTV.

About Scott Oser:
Over 20 years of marketing experience in the association and publishing industries. Before starting the firm he worked for market leaders like National Geographic Society, AARP and Science.Throughout his career Scott has excelled in developing, implementing and analyzing multi-channel direct marketing programs. He is highly skilled in creating effective membership, marketing and sales programs with the ability to align resources and operations to consistently achieve and exceed goals.

Scott Oser Associates realizes how important it is to give back to the marketing community. He is currently supporting the industry as a Member of ASAE’s Membership Section Council, ASAE Foundations’s Development Committee, Colorado Society of Association Executives’ (CSAE) Membership Committee and Florida Society of Association Executives (FSAE) Marketing Committee.